Baghdad plans to invite contractors to bid on a deal to build the $6bn Grand Faw port south of Basra City in April.

The port is designed to include 7,000 metres of docks for container ships and an additional 3,500 metres of dock for general cargo.  The port will be 17 metres deep, allowing it to receive the world’s largest cargo ships. It will be built in two three-year phases.   

Iraq has also announced plans to invite contractors to bid for its $3bn metro by March 2011. The first line of the planned metro will run 18 kilometres from Sadr City in the east through the city centre and then head north. It will include 20 stations.

The second line of the metro will run 21km starting in the south of the city before crossing the Tigris River and on to the mostly Sunni neighbourhoods in west Baghdad. This line will have 21 stations (MEED 17:3:10).

Together with an additional 8,000km of rail line and the new Baghdad metro, the two projects constitute $9bn, or 14 per cent of Iraq’s total development budget for fiscal year 2010.

Iraqi Transport Minister Amer Abdul-Jabbar has said that the network will rival the Suez Canal by providing a “shorter, cheaper and safer alternative” for goods transported between the Gulf and Northern Europe.